.Originally Posted by In The Mix
Located on a farm an hour’s drive out of Sydney, the Secret Garden Festival is a special kind of gathering. With proceeds going to charity and a crew of volunteers powering the party, all 3,500 tickets were snapped up within 10 days of going on sale last November. Last Friday 17 March, the site was all set up and ready for a big weekend of live acts and DJs. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans.
“We had about nine stages set up,” the festival’s Music Director Duncan Byrne tells inthemix. “On Friday night, it went well until the heavens opened up and our whole site got inundated. It destroyed all our stages and made all our PAs inoperable. Pretty much at 7am Saturday, we thought we’d have to call it off and go under like Playground Weekender had.
“We couldn’t run bands like New Navy and Last Dinosaurs at the risk of electrocuting people. We convinced our audio guys to let us set up DJ decks with lighting running off a different circuit so we could continue the party with just the DJs: The Aston Shuffle, Canyons, Alison Wonderland, Softwar, Slowblow, Joyride and a few other local dudes.”
And this is when the weirdness happened.
“It was a great vibe and things were going really well,” Duncan continues. “The girl running the DJ stage radio-ed me urgently saying, ‘I’ve got someone here to see you’. There was a bald English guy with gumboots and a jumper claiming to be half of Jack Beats. He knew the names of everyone involved. He was after some decks so he could go set up a rave in one of the side bars.
“I told him I had a strict policy that no other stages could be set up and this guy started to get a bit annoyed. He must’ve talked his way into a backstage pass from someone else, and he was walking around hassling volunteers and the production guys for more audio equipment. He started to get really annoying so I approached him and said if he really wanted to play, I had a spare spot at 1am after the Aston Shuffle. Anything to stop him being such a dick.”
Apparently this offer placated the last-minute ring-in, and he went to burn some CDs. “Hanging backstage talking to everyone, he seemed to have his story down pat, with an answer to everything,” says Duncan. “Name-dropping people left right and centre. It was such a long, tiring, stressed-out day and it didn’t help that there was no reception on site to check what this guy actually looked like.”
After a long night of spinning yarns, the time came for the Jack Beats impromptu slot. Stepping up after the Astons with a pig mask on, he was three tracks into his set when Pedestrian photographer Drew Kilpatrick realised something was up.
“Drew said, ‘What’s Lee doing onstage? That’s my sister’s mate Lee’,” laughs Duncan. “Drew walked onstage and was trying to pull his mask off. He’d probably played for about 15 minutes, and to be honest, he was actually doing a really good job. So we pulled him offstage and I was pretty furious by this point. Drew got some abusive messages from him later saying, ‘I can’t believe you did that, I had a bet with my friends that I could get on the mainstage!’
“To be honest, he was really quite irritating. When he came offstage and we confronted him, he was like, ‘No man, I am from Jack Beats! I can’t believe you’re fucking doing this to me!’ Secret Garden is such a free and easy event, if he’d come clean I would’ve happily let him keep playing. But he didn’t want to let up the game, so at that point it was like, ‘Get out of here.’”
Turns out the fake Jack Beats is actually DJ Ritty, who used to DJ alongside Ruby Rose. “We popped his CDs out of the CDJs and he’d written on them: ‘Jack Beats secret set’,” says Duncan. “I think next year we might call it the DJ Ritty Memorial Stage or DJ Ritty presents 2manydjs.”
After the fake Jack Beats was booted, Alison Wonderland was called back on to close the night.
“He had such a good story, and he had the British accent,” Alison tells inthemix. “These guys were going out of their way to make sure Jack Beats was happy for the whole day. I’d actually met the other guy from Jack Beats before, and I expected to see him onstage. I started doubting myself, like I’d got it wrong. He’d been so elaborate about it, it got to a point where you couldn’t question him. I’m not really sure if he’s a legend or a massive douchebag, but I’m pretty sure he’s pathological.”